We Are Punk?

According to my Googling a “punk” is a soft, crumbly wood that has been attacked by fungus, used as tinder. I’m not sure how appropriate that definition is.

During the 2017 AGM Brewdog launched their latest advertising campaign “I AM PUNK” featuring the choir that enjoys getting preached to, their “Equity Punks”. The campaign is endearing, positive and diverse. Which, for Brewdog, is a nice change from casual taxidermy. Not content with simply using their fans as content for their advertising, Brewdog are getting them to distribute it too.

From today [25th May], our awesome Equity Punks are going to be taking over cities up and down the country to spread our message of diversity and individualism. We’ll be fly posting our I AM PUNK message all over London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield, making our Equity Punks infamous along the way.

Let’s set aside the fact that a multinational £1 billion company doesn’t want to pay for advertising. They’re asking their “Equity Punks” to flypost across a country which carries a potential £80 fine (higher for Scottish “punks”) legislated by the Highways Act 1980. Not only do Brewdog want  the “Equity Punks” doing unpaid labour for the cause but they’re potentially breaking the law and they have actually paid for this privilege.

I honestly don’t understand how Brewdog, who have snuggled up to Tesco for years, who sold 22% of their company to TSG Consumer Partners (which also owns US brewer Pabst), who have bars in 13 countries, who use scare tactics to protect “their copyright”, who love to show off that their beers are vegan whilst throwing taxidermy all over the place, have the audacity to claim to be punk. Yes, Brewdog make some tasty beers but there’s nothing punk about Tesco Express.

This new campaign brings out the cynic in me. No matter how big you emblazon the words “I AM PUNK” over your face, you’re not exactly fighting the man if you’re paying a billion pound business to let you advertise for them. This feels like yet another step further away from Brewdog’s original punk ideology.

My Googling also tells me that “to get punked” means “to have a joke played on you, often in a public setting”.


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